Many notable examples of ensemble acting graced St. Louis stages during the past year, including some that are honored elsewhere in this section. But Going to See the Elephant, the Orange Girls' debut endeavor, still resonates in the memory, in part because it sneaked up so inauspiciously. No one knew the play, a curious concoction not so much written as collaborated upon, nor had this script elicited much attention in its previous incarnations. But from the moment Nancy Lewis' savvy old Maw appeared in front of a sod house, it was as if the audience was not in a theater at all. Lewis isn't even one of the Orange Girls, but she set a determined tone that was admirably maintained by the company's founders: Brooke Edwards, Michelle Hand and Meghan Maguire. By the time this small saga of isolated prairie life told its tale, the production's sense of ensemble transcended the play itself. There could be no doubting that the Orange Girls intended to be around, facing hardships of their own, long after the Elephant had vanished from the horizon.
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